Packers Sales, Profit Reach Records in Year After Super Bowl Win

The Green Bay Packers’ fiscal 2012 profit more than doubled to a record $42.7 million as costs fell and retail sales climbed a year after they won the Super Bowl.

Net income in the year through March eclipsed the previous record of $25.4 million set in 2005, Chief Executive Mark Murphy said yesterday on an conference call. In fiscal 2011, the Packers had earned $17.1 million, as benefits from winning the National Football League championship were offset by uncertainty surrounding a four-month player lockout that ended in July 2011.

Profit rose as expenses dropped and pro shop sales reached a record, Murphy said. Stadium visits also helped revenue reach a record $302 million, from $282.6 million, at the only publicly owned franchise in the major North American sports leagues.

“We really saw the organization ride the wave of a Super Bowl title and then this year, following that up with a 15-1 season really benefited us from a financial standpoint,” Murphy said. “We did set records in terms of local revenue, total revenue was the first time ever over $300 million and the profit from operation was at an all-time high of $43 million.”

Led by Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl after the 2010 season. Last season, after the four-month labor dispute ended with a 10-year accord, the team won its first 13 games and lost in the playoffs to the eventual-champion New York Giants.

More Revenue

Local revenue rose to a record $130.4 million from $119.3 million. National revenue, including television and league sharing, climbed to $171.6 million from $163.3 million. Player costs declined to $155.4 million from $158.9 million, while expenses dropped to $259 million from $270.5 million.

Part of the decline in expenses came because the team had four away postseason games two years ago, including the Super Bowl, and none last season. The Packers also benefited from reduced costs during the lockout, when the franchise was in “a belt-tightening mode,” Vice President of Finance Paul Baniel said.

“It wasn’t unusual for departments to be deferring projects, waiting to see the outcome,” Baniel said on the call. “Some of the decline is just due to the fact that we were in a slower state for those first four months.”

The labor dispute’s resolution also gave confidence to sponsors and television networks, Murphy said.

‘Labor Peace’

“The fact that we had guaranteed labor peace and the fact that we have a 10-year agreement was probably as helpful as anything,” Murphy said. “We’ve been able to enter into long-term agreements with our sponsors, we have a new preseason TV package that would not have been possible without the labor deal.”

Murphy said the growth of local revenue was due to fans’ excitement about the Super Bowl victory and the team’s 13-0 start to last season. The Packers had a record 156,000 visitors to their Hall of Fame this past year, and 137,000 people toured Lambeau Field.

“The success of the team in winning the Super Bowl and the fan excitement that followed that really benefited us last year,” Murphy said. “What we’ve seen this year is that continued to benefit us.”

Lambeau Leap

He said the profit would be invested in the $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field. This year the Packers will add two high-definition video boards and a new entrance for premium-seat customers, and in 2013 add 7,000 seats and a new entrance in the stadium’s South end zone.

Green Bay Packers Inc. has been a publicly owned, non-profit corporation since August 1932, according to the team’s website. In the past year, the team conducted the fifth stock sale in franchise history, adding more than 250,000 shareholders and raising $64 million.

That money, which is considered equity on the team’s balance sheet and isn’t included in the statement of income, will also go to the Lambeau renovations, Murphy said. The shares pay no dividend and cannot be resold, except back to the team for a fraction of the original price.

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